There is no distinct moment when a fad becomes a trend, and when a trend becomes a culture-changing movement. But there are signs, and added up they signal the victory of autos over horse buggies, or Walmart over the old downtown shopping street. The signs for a national shift to more green tech must be near that culture-changing moment. We have moved beyond municipal recycling and a few hybrid cars on the road. Big brains and bigger money are going green.
An AlwaysOn blogger noted the spread of "Cleantech Trading Zones." Here often disparate research fields converge in hopes of finding the new, new thing. Many of these zones involve private firms and venture capital, not just academics. Here's an example of BP, one the oil giants, partnering with MIT.
Business schools are often in the forefront of this current push to meld disciplines to create new ventures producing clean tech. Here's anothee example: wanna spend a few days at Lake Tahoe talking green tech ventures? How do we know this is not a passing fad? Even down in the belly of the beast, oil capital Houston hosts its fifth annual Energy & Clean Technology Venture Forum at Rice University. It's this week.
There was a time when it seemed every university was churning out a zillion larval-stage lawyers every graduation day. Then it was film-makers, or MBAs bent on IPO-ing three companies before they were 29 years old. Now green tech has a firm grip on the minds and lives of current students. Here's just one example of how the very campus and its buildings can reflect this change at University of Colorado--Boulder. Most campuses now reflect this green awareness. I went to my 120th college reunion last June at Carleton College amidst the green fields of Minnesota. On the way we drove past numerous biofuel plants in towns that long ago lost most of their local industry. Carleton itself seemed to be geared toward recycling, energy savings, gentle technologies...including a new major offered in environmental technology. When these grads from all the universities and colleges get into the workpace and marketplace, we likely see even more shifting of the culture.